PITTSBURGH – A most fitting comeback for Ben Roethlisberger.
With the kind of playmaking that put two Super Bowl rings on his fingers, the Steelers quarterback connected on a 58-yard pass to rookie Antonio Brown with less than 2 minutes to go. The go-for-broke toss set up the winning touchdown in a 31-24 victory Saturday over the archrival Baltimore Ravens.
“It was kind of amazing,” Brown said. “It kind of stuck to my shoulder.”
As a result, the Steelers (13-4) are a win away from their third Super Bowl in six seasons. The Steelers will play the winner of today’s game between the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
Rashard Mendenhall scored the winning TD from 2 yards out with 1:33 left. That ended any ideas the Ravens had of finally winning a playoff game against their division rivals.
Roethlisberger took his shots early from the Ravens’ defense, but threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns before his big pass on third-and-19.
The third meeting this season between these AFC North rivals had the usual skirmishes, but also was filled with penalties and turnovers.
It’s been a rugged season for the Steelers’ quarterback. His life and reputation were in tatters 10 months ago following sexual assault allegations that weren’t prosecuted. He was suspended for the first four games of the season, and helped his team finish with 12 victories and a first-round bye.
“It’s Ben. You give this guy an opportunity to snap it; he’s capable of producing plays,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.While the Steelers trailed by two TDs at the half, it was the Ravens who fell apart in the in the second half as the team they love to beat most came back to knock them out of the postseason. The Steelers are 9-0 against division teams in the postseason.
The Steelers trailed 21-7 after turnovers created two Ravens touchdowns. But they came back with the help of three Baltimore turnovers in the third quarter. The Ravens’ minus-4 yards in offense wasn’t the worst of it; they ended with 28 yards in the second half.
The Ravens’ last chance to beat the Steelers ended when T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped Flacco’s fourth-down pass at the Steelers’ 38 with 1:03 left.
Steelers 31, Ravens 24
Pit—Mendenhall 1 run (Suisham kick), 6:18.
Bal—Rice 14 run (Cundiff kick), 1:20.
Bal—Redding 13 fumble return (Cundiff kick), :53.
Bal—Heap 4 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick), 5:43.
Pit—Miller 9 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick), 9:11.
Pit—Ward 8 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick), 1:21.
Pit—FG Suisham 35, 12:15.
Bal—FG Cundiff 24, 3:54.
Pit—Mendenhall 2 run (Suisham kick), 1:33.
|Total Net Yards||126||263|
|Time of Possession||25:32||34:28|
RUSHING—Baltimore, Rice 12-32, McGahee 4-4, Flacco 2-(minus 1). Pittsburgh, Mendenhall 20-46, Moore 2-12, Roethlisberger 6-11, Redman 1-4, Wallace 2-(minus 2).
PASSING—Baltimore, Flacco 16-30-1-125. Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger 19-32-0-226.
RECEIVING—Baltimore, Rice 7-32, Heap 3-43, Houshmandzadeh 3-38, McGahee 2-14, Boldin 1-(minus 2). Pittsburgh, Miller 5-39, Sanders 4-54, Brown 3-75, Ward 3-25, Wallace 3-20, Mendenhall 1-13.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Pittsburgh, Suisham 43 (WL).